Wednesday, October 07, 2009

My new address

I have shifted to my new blog and hope to see all my old readers there. Do visit, stay on, say Hello, comment, criticise and be with me in this new journey. However, this blog will remain in the web, albeit silent.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

These are a few of my latest addictions

Scrabble on Facebook
I always loved this board game, but ever since I have discovered Scrabble on Facebook, I am completely hooked. Its a different thing that I lose most of them but it gives me a great adrenaline rush amidst other mundane stuff. I usually set the timer at 1 day, but whenever I am relatively free, I play games with a timer of 5 mins, which is the most competitive. I remember that last summer I was hooked onto another word game on Facebook called TextTwirl, an addiction which I caught from my team members during an internship, and kept on playing it for quite sometime.

My number one latest addiction is Scrabble on Facebook.

Sach Ka Samna
The Indian version of "Moment of Truth" is an exciting show, which has me in front of the TV set everyday from 10-30 to 11 pm. I didn't think that Indian audience could accept it with the kind of sensibilities that we have, but its great to see people talking of everything starting from sibling rivalry, alcoholism to extra-marital affairs, children out of wedlock and what not. Its rumoured that many celebrities refused to be a contestant in this game show and till date I have only seen 3 TV actors (including Urvashi Dholakia and Raja Choudhury, better known has Sweta Tiwari's husband) and Vinod Kamnbli, among celebrities, appear on the show.

No one won the top prize in the "Moment of Truth", so it will be interesting to see if any one here wins the one crore jackpot.
I wonder why this show fascinates me. May be, listening to people bring their skeletons out of the closet among near and dear ones, is a very different form of voyeurism, enabling a peek into other's private lives, which is what makes it an addiction.
Sach ka Samna is my latest addiction number two.

Bhaskar Bharti

Ok, I know this mindless serial of Sony is a remake (or copy?) of the hit Argentine show Lalola, it has a very stupid storyline of how a man transforms into a woman and how his life transforms, it is only time pass show, but - it is a good comedy. I especially love watching Ragini Khanna who depicts a man trapped in a woman's body. Her man-like walking and talking is what gives some of the light moments of the serial. The additional attraction is checking out her super cool clothes (reminds me of the time I used to watch "Gossip Girl" only to check out high-end fashion of the west). But I wonder how a man trapped in a woman's body, who reportedly hates girlied stuff like visiting the parlour, has started wearing short stylish dresses right from the begining!! But, as I said, it is anyways a mindless show, but hey fun to watch....

Bhaskar Bharti is my latest addiction number three.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Who took my Pass Certificate?

While arranging all documents for my enrollment at the Bar Council, I suddenly realised that I do not have the Pass Certificates for both my Board examinations with me. My initial reaction was that of denial and shock. After I have searched my whole house twice, I agreed that indeed I have neglected to collect my Pass Certificates from both my schools. I desperately needed my ISC Pass Certificate for my enrollment and I wondered what I should do.
Whoever I asked, told me that the school will give me an earful for being so stupid. Moreover, people were of the opinion that I might not get them after so many years. But desperation led me to try my luck with my alma maters.
I said a silent prayer and first called up The Future Foundation School for my ISC Certificate. I asked a Mr. Chandan Pal in the office whether I would get my Certificate. With a calm in his voice, he told me "Yes, You will have to come and collect it". Then I told him that I have passed out in 2004. He assured me and said that there would be no problem. I kept the phone down and silently mouthed "Hurrah"!
Next, I called up Gokhale Memorial Girls' School. We were issued our Pass Certificates along with our Mark Sheets, but it carried a wrong date. We had all returned them and were supposed to receive new ones. But I forgot to collect the new Certificate. Here, the female who had answered, was a little gruff. She told me that I will have to apply to the Head Mistress and then collect it another day. I reminded with a little trepidation that I passed in 2002. This proved to be of no consequence again. :-)
I heaved an immense sigh of relief. I am glad to think that I will get both my certificates. But in the whole process, I will do something that I have been wishing to do for quite sometime - visit my old schools once again.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The "Ad" phenomenon on Indian Television

After reading a post by a friend here, I decided to list my fav ads seen on television since the time I started watching TV!

  • Cadbury's Dairy Mil - Kya swad hain zindagi ka (esp the old one where a cricketer hits a six off the last ball and his wife dances into the field, now I totally love "Khush hain jamana, aaj pehli taarikh hain, meetha hain khana - reflects my sentiments best)

  • HDFC Pension Plan - Na sar jhuka hain kabhi

  • Sundrop Refined Oil - "Jalebi" and that ad where the boy makes his way through giant sized puris and finally somersaults into his mother's arms (used to make me wish I could somersault like him)

  • Hutch-Vodafone - all the ads with that cute pug and now those adorable ZooZoos. I also like the little girl who features with the pug.

  • Lux soap - the ads which protrayed the sensuality and beauty of women through the gorgeous heroines of Bollywood and the feminine (may I dare use the word) side of King Khan.

  • Amul Doodh - Roj peeyo doodh (though I never complied with this message)

I especially dislike the following ads:

  • Amul Macho - Yeh toh bada toing hain! (I understand portraying female sexual desire but how? washing your man's UGs with passion? ugh!! The latest one where male species is depicted as the weaker sex is also not done in the best taste)

  • Fair and Lovely - simply for re-inforcing the age-old demand for fair-skinned damsels

  • Axe Deodorants - The Axe Affect, prepare to get assualted (all of them and esp the one where thousands of bikini-clad women run after one man)

I can't think of any more now. Will update as and when I like/dislike any advertisement. Comments and suggestions are most welcome.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Memoirs of those five years - I

Every now and then, flashes of memories come to me, inducing in me a curious state of daydream. It seems just the other day that I had jumped with euphoric joy having qualified in the merit list of NUJS. I was in the midst of my ISC Board Exams, with my most dreaded subject scheduled for the next day - Chemistry. The feeling of a dream come true is unparalled. I also knew that I had saved myself a lot of worries by cracking the first ever entrance test that I wrote. I thought that the rest of my Boards would go for a toss, but thankfully my grades were good.

Those few months after my class XII Boards were pure joy. Leisurely happiness, mixed with eager anticipation for the new life kept me quite busy. I still remember the first day - 31st May 2004. I came for the Orientation Programme with my parents, where I was too busy looking around and hence didn't pay much attention to thethen Vice-Chancellor Prof B S Chimni warning us about the heavy workload to be encountered from from day one. I was allotted room 103 in the hostel, the first of a number of such rooms made home by me. After settling me comfortably in my room, my parents returned and for the first time, I spent the night away from them.

Those first few weeks of law school were terrible. I had absolutely no idea of what was happening around me in and outside class. Law per se was till then absolutely foreign to me, having prepared almost zilch for the entrance test. So it was scary seeing those guys in class rattling off all answers, having gone through coaching from LST etc. They all seemed very confident and knowledgable about the courses and I felt that I was extremely dim-witted!

A subject which I particularly struggled with was Economics. The two semesters packed in a whole lot of fundamentals within limited class hours. Coming from a science background and having no aptitude for it, god only knows how I managed to pass.

I still remember how shocked I was to hear the teacher talk of homosexuality, romance, gay rights and what not, openly in class. Slowly, my conservative perspective changed and I stopped being shocked at the frankness of law school.

Ah! how can I forget that sad incident of having to cut my long hair short. Since the time I stopped being a complete tomboy with cropped hair, I have always worn my hair at least mid-back length. It was the most favourite of myself. The Salt Lake water of NUJS hostel wreaked havoc with it and I started losing my precious possession in no time. I got it cut shoulder length and since then I have never tried growing it any longer. Reason? Well, it so turned out that it suited me! So much for those initial pangs of loss!

And then there were those "positive interaction" sessions with seniors in hostel. It's never called ragging in NUJS; and rightly so. They were fun and great ways to know our seniors. Though I myself can't forget the fact that I was asked to sing Kokhon tomar asbe telephone infront of everybody. Surprisingly, all of them endured it very bravely :-)

As I write this now, I remember how I asked a teacher which year she belonged to! She must have been extremely pleased to know that at her age, she looked like a student!

My first semester result was a blow. I didn't expect very high marks, considering my various distractions, but when people around me generally got much more, I felt a little sad.

The first year also gave me some great friends. It's strange how I interacted with most of my batchmates but struck a chord with only a few. Even fewer of them remained my friends for the rest of the five years of my stay in college and I will always treasure them.

The best part of my first year was thefact that we completed the first set of all five batches in NUJS. It feels great to be a part of both the start and the continuation and the end of an era.

At the end of this post, I just feel I relived the whole of 2004-2005 in a span of 20 minutes.

Friday, November 07, 2008


Its surprising

How everything has gone wrong

And I know that I have been a mistake

All that I do and say are my faults

And its too late to rectify

When friends are they who have left me

To bring a change in me

Leaving me to wonder where I went wrong

Why do I fail to judge people?

And end up so horribly bruised?

Why am I misunderstood so much?

And then blamed for what I never meant

May be all that I believe in

Are just illusions

I hurt people and end up hurting myself manifold

But I still remain the heartless bitch

Who plays with emotions

And makes fun of others

But then why am I the one

Who is always betrayed

And vilified and maligned?

If I am asked to change today completely,

Leaving behind the 'me' of all these years,

Does this mean that my life till now is a mistake?

I just wonder now

How long can I endure the fact

Of being the most flawed person on earth?

31st May be remembered for days to come

We were all waiting for the day to come - 31st May 2008. It was going to be our last day in Bombay and of our two-and-half months long internship - and an ending to our homesickness.
We also welcomed this day in style. On our last day in office i.e 30th May, we collected our respective certificates and cheques and met up in the Chowpatty Beach. We sprawled over hired mats, savoured pav bhaji and generally gossipped till mid night when the policemen came to drive people out of the beach.
I had a few plans for the morning of 31st. I badly wanted to visit the National Gallery of Modern Art for the photography exhibition of Raghu Rai. It was my 3rd photography exhibition in Bombay and the one most eagerly awaited. But before that, I joined my friends for a breakfast at Kyani's Cafe and was left astounded by the experience.
Highly recommended by our foodie friends, we reached this 100 years' old Irani Cafe with lots of expectations. Sadly, whatever we ordered for was not available. So our dreams of an authentic Iranian breakfast were dashed to pieces. Add to that a quirky waiter who, when asked why we had been served two pieces of sheekh kabab instead of four pieces of shammi kebab, he replied totally nonchalantly 'do ko kaat lijiye, chaar ho jayega!!!' Now I dont know whether he was just being ignorant of the fact that he has misunderstood our order or was trying to be plain and simple cheeky.
The same waiter also had the audacity (or, innocence?) to bring a chocolate cake and a chocobar icecream when asked for 'chocolate cake with chocolate icecream!!! He surely has some more learning to do in the trade of waiting and serving.
That apart, I liked the sausage, kulfi and the Irani chai served in stained cups (whew).
With our stomachs full, we headed towards NGMA in Colaba. I fell in love with the Gallery and more so, with the collections on display. I always wanted to see the masterpieces of Raghu Rai, like his photographs of Satyajit Ray, Mother Teresa, Bal Thackeray, Bhopal Gas Tragedy, naga sadhus at Kubh Mela, the classic old man with child photo and especially his photos depicting my most favourite city Kolkata. It was a memorable morning, rounded off by a documentary on the man himself.
Our next POA was having lunch at Rajdhani Thali. We have heard a lot about its lunch thali which have been recommended by the same foodie friends. We still had some faith left in them and so decided to check it out.
What we were totally unprepared for was the pocket pinch. The thali was priced at Rs. 190/- plus taxes per person! and it consisted of Gujrati vegetarian fare. The hard core non-veggie in me could not believe that she would have to shell out so much for something which had no meat!
We were promised unlimited supply of authentic (again!) Gujarati fare and since they had started serving the startersthe moment we sat down, we had no choice but to accept our fate.
[Inportant rule in restaurant business: Start serving as soon as the customers are seated. If it is something like thali and the customers are as idiotic like we were, they would never refuse it in fear of being dubbed rude or unsavvy]
Well, I won't say I didn't like the food. The problem with it was we never understood the names of half the things on our thali, despite asking the waiters repeatedly. And beyond a point, we could not act like fools any more than what we already were made out to be.
The most important part of the deal was 'unlimited' serving. We all went on a mission of stuffing ourselves like crazy, only to make good of the 190 bucks. But trouble started when we decided we have had enough. The over-friendly and over-hospitable waiters decided to be over-nice and continued piling food on our thalis. They kept on saying 'Ek aur lijiye na', 'Bas ek aur, mere khatir (!), 'Yeh akhri phulka, Ek aur vada' and we kept on nodding our heads profusely in negation. But everytime we lost infront of their persuasiveness (like a cute waiter saying 'ek aur mere khatir'). So we stopped eating for ourselves and started eating to please them. As a result, we were over-stuffed beyond our capacity. But thankfully that didn't deter us from relishing the best Shreekhand I have ever tasted.
Post-lunch, mobility and money became a problem. We withdrew enough cash to see us through our train journey back home. And then we walked back to our hostel to shed some of the extra weight gained in the past hour. Our tickets were of Jnaneswari Express, which was due to depart at around 9-30 pm from Lokmanya Tilak Station in Kurla. So I had declared that we all should leave by 5 pm, so as to reach comfortably and finish our dinner before the train arrived.
Four of us managed to fit in our huge luggages on top and the boot of the fiat cab and started a 2 hour long journey towards the station. We reached at about 8 pm and began our routine haggle with the porter. It was then that I happened to glance at the screen and saw that the departure time for Jnaneswari Express was "20:30 hours"! Again it took some 5 seconds to dawn on us idiots that 20:30 means 8:30 and not 9:30 as we had previously thought. We quickly checked our tickets and saw that they always gave the correct timings, god only knows how and why we presumed that the departure time was 9:30 pm!
Having realised that we had only 30 minutes to board the train, we ran the entire length of the train along with the porter (who got the price he was asking for) to reach our compartment right in the begining of the platform. Of course, our plan of boarding the train first and then capturing all the free space beneath the berths for our luggages had gone waste. We could barely fit in our plus-size suitcases and had to engage in a verbal duel with a Bengali family who refused to adjust even a bit. According to the man, "I had adjusted enough when I was a student, now that you are students, you should also learn how to adjust"!!!!! The other co-passenger was a young guy, again Bengali, who alone had some 4 pieces of luggage with him because he was shifting. No amount of pleading and fluttering of eyelashes by four young girls helped with any of them.
By this time, two of my friends had bought some puri-sabji for dinner and once the train started, we settled down to eating and discussing how close we had come to missing our trains. "Eventful day", somebody said. But the best (or, I should say worst) was yet to come.
We had got e-tickets for ourselves and the friend, in whose name they were booked, was carrying the attested photocopy of her voter ID card. She didn't ask for her original from home in fear of losing it. Now, that was the biggest and costliest mistake, as we realised when the ticket cheker declared our tickets as INVALID.
"Invalid?" we asked dumbfounded. "What does that mean?"
"It simply means that since the identity of the master passenger is not proved by the photocopy of the voter ID card, this e-ticket holds no value. You have to pay the prices of the tickets right now."
"Rs. 1500/- per ticket? We are not even carrying that much cash on us!"
"Then get down at Bhusaval."
Now that was the last straw. We tried all sorts of arguments - ethical arguments on the lines of how-can-you-make-4-young-girls-get-down-at-an-unknown-station-at-11-in-the-night, legal argument like its-nowhere-written-that-attested-photocopy-is-not-valid (bad argument, never even try) and logical ones like why-can't-we-pay-at-Howrah? etc. Well, of course none of them held ground since we were at fault. But what was irritating was the unrelenting attitude of the TTE and the way he treated us like criminals. Read a story here where a similar incident had happened. It raises similar concerns about this stupid rule of indentity verification.
A frantic call was made to one of our friends, whose uncle was in the Western Railways. It so turned out that he was also boarding the same train from Kalyan, and was with his uncle at that moment. We were instructed to keep the TTE busy till 9-30 pm when the train would reach Kalyan station.
Our knight in shining armour came in the form of the uncle, who boarded the train to persuade the TTE and remained in it till 11 pm! After hours of coaxing and cajoling, that beast of a TTE agreed to let us off. He told our friend that during subsequent checkings, the identity will not be verified again in all probability. But in case some smartass TTE asked for it, she should pretend to have lost it. It would not matter too much since the first TTE had already verified it.
We did sleep soundly through the night. But another moment of agony arrived with the arrival of the second TTE next morning. Our heartbeats stopped the moment he stood before us and asked for the ticket. But luckily for us, he didn't ask for indentity verification. It seemed as if we were bloody criminals, travelling without tickets.
So much within a span of 24 hours! May be my bad luck, carried from Delhi, had affected all of us here. But most remarkable was what our friend (whose uncle saved us) remarked wisely before the TT in order to impress him (or may be to distance himself from fools like us) "Main apna chaddi aur voter ID card kabhi nahi bhoolta hoon!" Whew! How gross! and the TTE nodded in agreement!
Small trivia: Among the four of us, one was travelling on someone else's ticket, to avoid the hassle of cancelling the same, and another was a Bangladeshi passport holder. Had these facts come out before the TTE then, we would have been history!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Bombay : Sanjay Gandhi National Park et al

It took us a lot of will power and collective strength to get over our office fatigue and laziness to set off for Boriveli at around 7 am one Saturday. A 45-minute train journey and a short auto ride later, we found ourselves at the gates of the Sanjay Gandhi National Park. A long walk ensued, which brought us face to face with a herd of lovely deer. We bought tickets for the lion and the tiger safari and boarded a bus, whose windows were all covered with wire nets. The safari was of extremely short duration and showed us tigers in cages!!! The fact that the lions were freely roaming reminded us that we were not in a zoo but a National Park.

After satisfying our mid-day hunger with chips, fruits and cold drinks, we took a bus to the Kanheri Caves, situated within the National Park. There are 109 Buddhist caves, cut by hand from the living rock of a 1500 feet high ravine in the 2nd to the 9th century AD. Inside the caves, there were colossal Buddhas, more than 20 feet tall, an 11-headed Bodisattva and even a nagaraja, an ancient pre-Buddhist serpent king guarding the most famous Buddhist chaitya hall

"Kanheri" is derived from the word 'Khaneri' meaning black mountain. The presence of these caves prove a well-organised existence of a Buddhist establishment, with connections to other trade centres like Sopara, Kalyan, Nasik, Paithan and Ujjain.

It was another Saturday morning, when we decided to visit the famous Siddhivinayak Temple in Dadar. It was a long queue before the temple and when we finally managed to reach inside, we were whisked away before we even realised! We could not even see properly, the smiling face of Lord Ganesha, who is depicted her with four arms bearing a lotus, an axe, modakas and a garland of beads, flanked by his consorts Siddhi and Riddhi!

Another place of interest which I always planned to visit but could never make it is the Haji Ali shrine. This time I was determined not to miss it, more so because I used to pass it every day on my way to office. One Sunday, I reached the Haji Ali Juice Centre, famous for selling a glass of juice for Rs. 100/- (!) and started my walk towards the island, where the shrine is situated. The walkway, which connects the shore to the shrine is the only way to reach it and can be used only during low tides. The structure inside has white, typical Mughal domes and minarets.

There are two local legends which claim to trace the Hazrath Haji Ali's antecedents. One story has it that Haji Ali was a rich, local businessman who gave up materialism after a visit to Mecca and then took up meditation. Another legend says that he was an Afghan mystic who lived and meditated here. He specifically ordered that after his death , his casket should be cast off into the sea off the shore of what is today Pakistan. However, the casket surfaced intact at the spot where the shrine is today.

The whole place was crowded and with people of all religion. I even overheard a man talking over the phone saying "Main Haji Ali Mandir mein hoon!!!" What he was doing there was spending a few private moments with his lady love, sitting on the rocks of the island. And I wonder who he was speaking to over the phone.

I missed out on going to Alibaug, Matheran and Lonavla with my friends because I was rotting in Delhi at that point of time. But I am sure there is a second time.